137. Memorandum of a Conversation, Colombo, March 11, 19561


  • The Ceylonese Prime Minister, Sir John Kotelawala
  • U.S. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles2
  • Ambassador Philip K. Crowe
  • Assistant Secretary, George Allen

Mr. Dulles said that he was delighted to be the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit Ceylon and that he had a personal association with the island which made his visit particularly pleasant to him. He mentioned a ceremony which had just taken place at the American Embassy, where the members of the staff had presented him with a memorial volume describing the work in Ceylon of his great great grandmother and her husband, the Reverend Miron Winslow.

Secretary Dulles said he was glad that the question of economic aid to Ceylon had been worked out. A good deal of delay had resulted from what he might call “rubber tape”. He said that following a very effective presentation of the case to him by Ambassador Crowe last November, he had become entirely convinced that it was ridiculous for the United States to be giving aid to India, which followed a “neutralist” policy which gave much comfort to the communists, whereas Ceylon, which was strongly anti-communist, was refused aid. He had dictated a two-line memorandum stating his policy decision that aid to Ceylon should be granted, and directing those in charge to find the appropriate means to do so.3 All sorts of difficulties had been raised, because of Ceylon’s sale of rubber to Communist China, but he had insisted that the aid arrangement be worked out and he was glad it had been accomplished.

Sir John expressed his deep appreciation for the Secretary’s action and for Ambassador Crowe’s effective presentation. (As regards India, he commented in passing that the more India abused the [Page 267] United States Government, the more aid we gave India. The Secretary said this was not quite correct.) Sir John went on to ask how the money could be spent before June 30, which he understood to be our requirement.

Ambassador Crowe pointed out that the money did not actually have to be spent but it did have to be allocated to specific projects. The Secretary said that it should be done soon because Congress was always annoyed by allocations made during the last few days before the close of our fiscal year. He emphasized that the projects should be for activities other than agricultural development, in view of the surplus agricultural problem in the United States.

. . . . . . .

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 110.11–DU/3–2256. Secret. Extract. The omitted topics of discussion include specific aid projects, Soviet activities in Indian and miscellaneous global issues. Drafted by Allen. This memorandum and a memorandum of conversation with Governor General Goonetilleke were forwarded to the Department on March 22 in despatch 753. The Embassy briefly summarized these conversations in telegram 539, March 13. (Ibid., 110.11–DU/3–1356)
  2. Secretary Dulles was in Ceylon for a 1-day visit as part of a trip to several Asian countries immediately following the SEATO Conference in Karachi, March 6–8. Additional documentation on the Secretary’s post-SEATO trip is ibid.,FE Conference Files: Lot 60 D 514.
  3. Reference is apparently to Document 133.